Fri | Oct 20, 2017

More Instruments Needed

Published:Tuesday | March 24, 2015 | 12:00 AMJodi-Ann Gilpin
Jeffery Spooner (right), director of Meterological Services, explains the use of a sunshine recorder to (from left) Moesha Drummond, Pebbles Watson, Zenobia Johnson and Matthewe McClarty, students of St Michael's Primary, during yesterday's celebration of World Meterological Day at the University of the West Indies Undercroft in Mona, St Andrew.

As the world celebrated Meteorological Day yesterday, Jeffrey Spooner, head of the Meteorological Service of Jamaica, indicated that, with the seriousness of climate change, more instruments are needed to accommodate the influx of new data that occurs.

Speaking with The Gleaner following the opening ceremony held at the University of The West Indies, Mona, campus, Spooner said that while there are no difficulties with their readings, it is imperative that proper resources be put in place.

"Weather patterns have changed, but it hasn't presented any challenges for us per se in terms of our readings. What we need is the instrumentation for the kind of observation that is required, especially for the climate-change measurement. In past times, daily rainfall was adequate. However, with climate change, hourly rainfall rates are becoming more in demand and so it is critical that we have the proper database and data management in place," he declared.

"It's an incremental process. We are gradually building up the network in order for us to carry out the work with the evolution of climate change," he continued.

Plans for dry season

Spooner also advised citizens and policymakers to put plans in place for dry seasons, adding that he was not expecting a repeat of the prolonged drought that the country experienced last year.

"The period from December through to April is the driest period, and so, since this is an annual event, it means we have to plan better and in advance," he declared.

"We are expecting near-normal rainfall for the next six months. It's going to be much better than it was last year. We should be getting an appreciable amount of rainfall," he said.

Ian Hayles, state minister in the Ministry of Land, Water, Environment and Climate Change, said he was concerned about the level of seriousness that citizens pay to the environment. Making reference to the recent fire at the Riverton City disposal site in Kingston, he said citizens should be more responsible.

"I always ask myself, 'Who owns the air?' and the answer I arrived at is that the air is owned by every human being, since the day you were born. It is the only thing that does not require a land title or any kind of ownership document. However, with ownership comes responsibility, and, for some strange reason, we have not been very responsible when it comes to the environment," he declared.

"Mankind has created more harm and danger for the environment, and I appeal to Jamaicans, whether it is we are going to change the way we dispose of our garbage or how we handle our resources, we have to show more care to the environment," Hayles charged.

jodi-Ann.gilpin@gleanerjm.com